May. 2, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. - University of New Mexico senior Matt Gonzales more than held his own in the fastest 10,000-meter race in America late last night, finishing 10th overall and third among the collegiate runners with a career-best time of 28:17.46 at Stanford's Cardinal Invitational. An All-American in the 10K the past two years, Gonzales shaved over five seconds off his personal record to secure an automatic qualifying berth to the NCAA Championship meet in Sacramento in June. Stanford's Ian Dobson was the top collegiate finisher in the race with a time of 27:59.72, the fastest of the year by an American.
After attending New Mexico's home meet the day before, Gonzales flew to California on Sunday afternoon, roughly five hours before the 8:55 p.m. (Pacific) start time for the race. The late night start and travel schedule did not appear to bother him, however, as he turned in one of the fastest 10,000-meter races in Lobo history, crossing the line just 12.46 shy of the 21-year-old UNM record. Takayuki Matsumiya, running for Konica Minolta, won the event with a time of 27:50.20. Dobson and Wisconsin's Simon Bairu (8th - 28:04.75) were the only collegians to finish ahead of Gonzales.
While Gonzales and UNM head coach Matt Henry said they would still prefer to focus on the 5,000-meter race at the NCAA Championship meet, Henry said they decided to keep their options open with Sunday's 10K race. Gonzales has already qualified for the Midwest Regional Championships in the 1,500 and 5,000, but will need a top-five finish in either event to advance to the national meet. He owns the fastest 5K time in the region and is currently ranked fourth in the 1,500.
Gonzales and the rest of the Lobos return to action in two weeks when they travel to Fort Collins, Colo. for the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships.